Marija Gimbutas

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Marija Gimbutas (Lithuanian: Marija Gimbutienė) (Vilnius, January 23, 1921 – Los Angeles, United States February 2, 1994), was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological interpretation, but earned a mixed reception by other professionals.

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Early life

Gimbutas was born as Marija Birutė Alseikaitė to Veronika Janulaitytė-Alseikienė and Danielius Alseika in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Her parents were members of the Lithuanian intelligentsia, a social class which rose from the farming class during imperial Russian rule.[1] Her mother received a doctorate in ophthalmology at the University of Berlin in 1908 and became the first female physician in Lithuania, while her father had received his medical degree from the University of Tartu in 1910. After the 1917 Russian Revolution, Gimbutas' parents had founded the first Lithuanian hospital in the capital.[1] During this period, her father also served as the publisher of the newspaper Vilniaus Žodis and the cultural magazine Vilniaus Šviesa and was an outspoken proponent of Lithuanian independence during the war against Poland.[2] Gimbutas' parents were connoisseurs of traditional Lithuanian folk arts and frequently invited contemporary musicians, writers, and authors to their home, such as Vydūnas, Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, and Jonas Basanavičius.[3] With regard to her strong cultural upbringing, Gimbutas said:

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